The last few weeks weeks have seen us in quite a few places. From 25 May to 2 June, Dan spent time in Haiti, and Courtney and Ceara spent time with a friend and her three girls in Snow Camp, NC. Then Dan attended the Annual Conference for the River Conference of the Free Methodist Church in Austin, TX from 4 – 6 June. Dan flew out of Austin on Monday June 7th.
On Tuesday we drove to DC to spend the night with Court’s brother, Todd, and Wednesday we made our way to Kittery Point, ME and stayed with our friends, the Hoffmans. On Thursday, Courtney had an interview with a UMC church just south of Portland. On Saturday we looked for housing in case the job in ME worked out, and Sunday we rested. On Monday (the 14th) we looked for more housing in the papers and on-line because we decided for Court to take this job as a part-time pastor. Then Monday afternoon we headed into Boston and took Ceara on her first trip through the North End. She ate pizza from Regina Pizzeria and had cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. On Tuesday we trekked back up to Biddeford and Saco, ME and looked for apartments to rent. Wednesday we drove to Manhattan (via a brief stop in Brockton to see some of Dan’s cousins) and stayed in a guest house in Greenwich Village. On Thursday Dan met with the General Board of Global Ministries for most of the day working out the details of my new job with them (more below), and then we left to see how far we could drive before stopping for the night. Last Friday we arrived in Charlotte in the afternoon.
Dan will be the the Missionary Interpreter in Residence for the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. A long title, but here is the gist: he will liaise between our mission board – her programs and her missionaries – and the conferences, districts, and congregations throughout the Northeastern Jurisdiction helping to grow in their involvement in mission and encouraging them in ways in which they are already doing mission. Court will be a part-time – and only – pastor at a small church in Saco, ME that wants to grow and has asked Courtney to help them to attain their vision and fulfill their mission.
We found a neat, little apartment in Biddeford, and we hope to move North before the baby arrives (due date July 22) – so maybe within the next 10 days or 2 weeks.
We hope this updates you… : )
Ceara has also had many other firsts these past two weeks. Our friend, Geneve, made a video slide show of pictures she took of Ceara – you can find it here: www.luminalife.com/data/web/CearaRandall
The photos above document her first: taste of Clam "Chowda"; clam with Belly; trip to the North End and Regina Pizzeria; Cannoli (from Mike's Pastry); flight of stairs; World Cup match; trip to New York City
We celebrated Ceara's First Birthday this past Sunday (the 20th)! Woohoo!
Courtney made cupcakes with frosting, and Ceara enjoyed one along with her first taste of whole milk. mmm…
(I had trouble with my computer and camera linking, so these photos are from my phone)
(Photos are of water filter distribution, building the chicken coop, and a canal over running its bank in the rain.)
Before we left for Haiti last week, John acquired 40 water filters. On Tuesday afternoon our new friend, Emmanuel, spent time training about 35 men, women, and youth – all in some way related to the Clays' artisan program – to use these filters for their families and community. The smile on their faces lit up the room, and they must have said "mesi" a thousand times as they left.
Clean water – to drink, to clean, to make bottles for babies. Clean water – I take it for granted most of the time when brushing my teeth, taking a shower, opening the spigot to fill a glass. Clean water – alleviating worry about whether or not dysentery will follow a drink or a baby bottle. Clean water…
Our group finished the chicken coop and almost completed fencing in the yard where the chickens will live. We set the fence posts yet were waiting on the gate which was being fashioned by a local blacksmith. We purchased 30 on Monday and they are set to arrive on Saturday. The chickens are already old enough to lay eggs, so within a week or so the Clays should get about 20 – 25 eggs a day – which translates to about 2-3 eggs a week for each of their artisans. Some friends of their across town have had chickens for a few years now and have seen an increase in birth weight in babies of the women with whom they work as well as less malnourished kids in their community. The Clays hope to have similar results beginning in the near future.
Please continue to pray for them and the community of Claireville – the little part of their neighborhood in Port-au-Prince where most of their artisans live. Some of the 12' x 6' cinder block homes survived the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, yet many live in makeshift tents and shelters because their homes crumbled completely. Hurricane season started the other day and the tent cities will be a horrible place to endure the torrential rain and ravenous wind. The Clays are looking for groups willing to come and assemble some prefab shelters – $2600 for two homes and about 7 days to put them up. Any takers? I'll go back with you, too if you want.
Another opportunity to serve exists for anyone able to quilt, crochet, knit, and sew (with a machine). The Clays want to expand their current jewelry program into making clothes, blankets, quilts, etc. – all things that could be used by people in Haiti and also sold as artisan products abroad. If interested, then let me know, and I can give you more info.
A friend used these words the other day to describe the Clays: "Two people trying to do their part to change their little part in the world."
The roosters got going about 4.15am today – or maybe they had been going all night and I only began hearing them then. Either way, I couldn't go back to sleep so I took a shower and then sat on the balcony trying to pray, to think, to process this time. I wrote the following in my journal:
"I look outside at the metal gates and cinder-block walls topped by razor wire and broken glass and I try to see more – I want them to mean something. I want a profound and symbolic insight like others have had in such a place, but for me it just is. They are just walls – not the kind to keep puppies or children from wandering too far. No, these walls intend to keep people out – to keep my stuff mine or my life safe – built because that's what others around me built and/or out of fear that someone might take my stuff or violate me.
In the tent cities and "shanty" towns there is no protection like a wall – there is no space to delude one into thinking they control what happens around them…
I find it interesting that one of the first things that people with means have rebuilt post-earthquake are the walls – complete with fresh razor wire and broken glass.
See, that should mean something – that should lead to some profound insight about life, or our relationship to God, or our relationships to each other, or how we cope during/after a disaster… Instead, it's just a wall. Something to separate and divide and remind us that the world is not at peace… "
In a couple of hours we are supposed to go to Citie Soleil – the poorest section of Port-au-Prince. I wonder what that will be like… This afternoon we plan to finish the chicken coop and also train 30 men how to use the water filters we brought so their families can have clean water. More later…